.Truss and Macron at the European Political Community summit in Prague. (Photo: PA News)
Liz Truss has called French president Emmanuel Macron a “friend” – meaning her personal jury appears to have returned its verdict.
During the Tory leadership race, Truss declined to say whether Macron was a “friend or foe”.
“The jury’s out,” she responded to loud applause from Conservative activists, but criticism from the rest of the world.
On Thursday, as she attended the European Political Community summit in Prague, the UK prime minister appeared to have changed her tune.
She told broadcasters ahead of a meeting with the French president: “I work very, very closely with president Macron and the French government and what we’re talking about is how the UK and France can work more closely together to build more nuclear power stations and to make sure that both countries have energy security in the future.
“We’re both very clear the foe is Vladimir Putin, who has through his appalling war in Ukraine threatened freedom and democracy in Europe and pushed up energy prices which we’re now all having to deal with.
Asked if he was then a friend, Truss said: “He is a friend.”
Macron has been magnanimous about the comments.
As pair held their first bilateral meeting at the fringes of the United Nations summit in New York last month, Macron welcomed their conversations on Ukraine and other European issues, saying: “I now believe in proof, in results.
“There is a will to re-engage, to move on and to show that we are allies and friends in a complex world.”
Beyond a cheap win among rank-and-file Tories, it was unclear precisely why Truss had taken umbrage at the leader of one of the UK’s closet allies, a fellow member of Nato and a vital trading partner.
But tensions have risen between London and Paris over the surge in migrants crossings the English Channel, and negotiations over the post-Brexit settlement.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.